Date Night with Fancy, Open-Faced Sandwiches at Tartinery in Nolita

I'd never thought to go to Tartinery in Nolita before, but I'll be damned if that place wasn't an absolutely perfect spot for an impressive first date. You wouldn't know it from the street, but inside the understated exterior of this restaurant there's an incredibly sexy, well-thought-out, subterranean dining room with large vaulted ceilings with exposed brick walls accented by lots of black iron and flickering candle lights. It's a really incredible space and if you're looking to put the vibe in the air, this place is perfect for that.The menu is also great for two people getting to know each other. It features a vast array of French-inspired open-faced sandwiches known as tartines. And there's a wide selection of very accessible toppings offered – so you know that picky eater Tinder first date is going to be able to find something they can eat – yes, even vegetarians.

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Mike Winston’s Best Bites of 2014

What a year!! I did something like this last year too, but oh boy was 2014 a doozy. I started off living in NYC, then a started a new job that whisked me off the San Francisco and Silicon Valley for a few months before ultimately relocating to San Francisco permanently. And along the way, I squeezed in a couple of vacations too.Sooooo, I did a LOT of epic eating this year. And truth be told, I found it particularly difficult to narrow down my list as concisely as last year's, but I somehow managed. So, without further ado, I present the winners (and runner-ups) broken down by category. I tried to cluster similar dish types together, but really they are in no particular order. Let's begin!And if you wanna hear about the 2014's Best Cocktails, read more here.

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Get a Real, Delicious, Cheap Taste of Italy at Fiat Café in Nolita

I told you guys I'd be back. I knew you couldn't keep me away from New York for too long. And Thanksgiving was just the right occasion to come back East for a few days of powering through my old stomping ground. To be honest, this rampage sort of turned into a food and drink greatest hits extravaganza. You'll see what I mean when I get around to publishing everything I ate...Anyway, while in SF, one of the things I've been missing most from my time in NY is access to great, simple, Italian comfort food. I just haven't been able to find a reliable red sauce joint out here yet. So, I made sure that one of my first stops in NY was at one of my old NYC favorites, Fiat Café in Nolita, for a cheap, filling, and reliably delicious meal.

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Exciting, Eclectic, Global Cuisine at Public Restaurant in Nolita

20140730_190223_editAfter knocking out two date nights from our NYC Bucket List and before relocating to San Francisco, we had time for one final meal with my family the evening before our departure. Public Restaurant was chosen by my mom firstly for it's super-convenient location in Nolita but mostly because, and I quote, "it sounds like it's got your kind of food". That could be taken any number of ways, but I'll just assume it's because the menu is loaded up with unusual sounding game meat and other interesting sounding ingredients together in strange combinations and preparations. Yes Mom, that does sound like my kind of place indeed.

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Great American Comfort Food & the Biggest Burger in NYC at Delicatessen

20140101_212248_editDelicatessen is a really interesting place. Located in the heart of Nolita, it's definitely a scene. You know, the kind of place where the cool people hang out. The ground floor is a nice, spacious, sunlit restaurant known for its classic American comfort foods like mac & cheese and burgers. These qualities also make it a very popular brunch destination. On top of all of this, the basement below Delicatessen is a sort of loungey nightclub that regularly fills up with models and the rest of the cool crowd.In general I try to avoid popular, sceney places like this, but I've found the food and experience at Delicatessen is great every time. They serve really good, quality food in a casual atmosphere without any of the pretension you might expect. They serve nice cocktails, have a good wine list, and serve big, hearty dishes making it a great spot for a date night or a meal out with the family.

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Seriously Soothing Soba Noodle Soup at Cocoron in Nolita

DSC_2733_editLocated on a strange, dirty, vacant segment of town somewhere between NoHo, Nolita, and the Bowery you'll find the bright, orange signage for Cocoron.Inside, you'll find some of the cleanest, most comforting food in NY that'll leave you feeling fresh and healthy after. Inside is a tiny, bustling shop with two-tops, a communal table, and noodle bar seating. Despite the rapid turnover in the shop it's still quite a nice experience that would be good enough to work as a casual, low-key date night or a cheap eats cold-weather lunch.

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Savory & Sweet Japanese Crepes at Eight Turn Crêpe in NYC

_DSC1104_editIf you're in SoHo, perhaps shopping, where do you stop for a quick, easy lunch? There's plenty of trendy, pricey sit-down cafes in the neighborhood, but you have to look a little harder to find something fast, casual, and actually good. I had heard about a great new Harajuku style Japanese crêperie in the area and knew I had to check it out. Do I sense a Harajuku mini-trend happening in NYC?

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